TELLURIDE, Colo. – (September 19, 2017) – Rebuilding and bolstering an economically depressed community is a challenge, but this is exactly what happened in North Adams, Massachusetts with the MASS MoCA arts center. This community transformed 16 acres of 19th century mill buildings into a complex of contemporary visual arts and performing arts centers. On Thursday, September 21nd at 5pm at the Sheridan Opera House, Founding Director Joe Thompson will give a presentation about MASS MoCA and how the North Adams community reinvented itself through art. This event is free and the public is encouraged to attend.
The history of MASS MoCA began in the late 1700s with small-scale industry and grew into an industrial complex and site of innovation and fabrication. From 1942 to 1985, the site was owned by Sprague Electric Company and used as a major research and development center, conducting studies on the nature of electricity and semi-conducting materials. In 1985, competition from abroad forced the community’s largest employer, Sprague Electronics, to close its doors, leaving 5,000 local citizens with no viable means of employment.
In 1986, the business and political leaders of North Adams were seeking ways to creatively re-use the vast Sprague complex of buildings, and the concept of creating a contemporary arts center began. Thompson, with a keen eye towards revitalization and a passion for honoring the community’s roots, led the effort, and he has directed MASS MoCA for over 30 years.
Today, MASS MoCA, housed in Sprague Electric’s old home, spans 250,000 square feet and brings over 200,000 visitors to North Adams annually. The MASS MoCA campus embraces all forms of art, including music, sculpture, dance, film, painting, photography, theater, and more. To learn more about MASS MoCA visit their website at www.massmoca.org
The Telluride Foundation exists to create a stronger Telluride community through the promotion and support of philanthropy. It is a nonprofit, apolitical community foundation that provides year-round support for local organizations involved in arts, education, athletics, charitable causes, land conservation and other community-based efforts through technical assistance, education and grant making. As a grant maker, The Foundation awards grants to qualified applicants that serve the people living and working in the Telluride area for the purpose of enhancing the quality of life within the region. For more information on the Telluride Foundation, visit www.telluridefoundation.org.